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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A beautiful day

I'm glad we made it to the Kite Festival today!  The weather was perfect, with clear blue skies and a nice cool breeze.  The street entertainers captivated the crowd when their necks are strained from all that looking up, and every kid had a smile on their face.

There's one last day tomorrow (Sunday) to end the weekend on a perfect note, so here are some tips from us!


Most people will be choosing to park at the open-air Wilson carpark along Bayfront Avenue.  It's the most obvious carpark around The Promontory and the rates at MBS are infamously expensive.  When we were there, there was a long line of vehicles waiting for their turn to enter the very full carpark, so here's the alternative - take Marina Station Road/Marina Way instead and park at the Marina Bay Financial Centre carpark.  Only $3.21 for the first 4 hours on Sat/Sun and there's plenty of spaces!  The Promontory is one traffic light away.

Goodie bag

The goodie bag is whilst stocks last so do reach the venue before 6pm if you want to get your hands on very thoughtful freebies - kite, foam glider, water, fan and tissue paper.  The goodie bags were gone by 6.30pm today!


If you're intending to spend quite some time there, do prepare food!  We did not see any food stalls in the area so it'll be tough on your kids (and parents) should they feel like eating something.  Heck, you can even plan for a nice picnic at the venue.  There's plenty of space!

Have fun!
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kite Festival Singapore 2013 - Grand Flying Days

If you have no idea where to bring your kids this weekend, look no further than The Promontory @ Marina Bay! The Kite Festival Singapore is an annual event that features, well, amazing kites over the span of a couple of months.  This weekend would be the finale of the 2013 edition, entitled Grand Flying Days.  We have not attended the event before but we are excited about it just by imagining the blue skies filled with a sea of colourful kites flying high above Marina Bay!  Will definitely attend if Aiden recovers from his fever!
Talking about flying objects, Aiden has been rather distracted from his collection of cars lately by some planes that Ah Ma and Ah Gong bought for him.  This boy is terribly on trend, with the latest Pixar hit Planes set to blaze the local box offices come 5 September.

I think he's still too young to sit through a movie in the cinema without disturbing the rest of the movie-goers, so we did the next best thing last weekend.  We brought him to the Changi Airport to look at the real thing!  We usually go to the Viewing Gallery at Terminal 3 but turns out that the Terminal 1 Viewing Gallery (Level 3) offers a good view of both the stationary and landing planes too.  Even better, there is a playground there as well when your kids feel like stretching their wings (and other limbs) after all that viewing.  Called Canopy, it is a forest-themed indoor playground for children aged 18 months and above.  The official website says that playtime is chargeable, but when we were there on Saturday, there was no cashier and kids and parents alike were free to roam!

Not sure if this is allowed but we brought along his scooter anyway so that he has plenty of space to ride around in comfort!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Childcare Woes

As working parents, very often we don't have a choice whether we want to enrol our kids into childcare. It has been over 7 months since Aiden started childcare and over this period of time, he has hurt his ear, slipped & fell from spilled water and broke his front tooth and recently suffered a bad bout of diaper rash (not sure what's causing the extreme redness in his butt area, leading to on and off fever for 3 days and counting).

Is this due to negligence on the school's part? Will switching to a new school improve the situation? Or will pulling him out of school for awhile help - but who will make the sacrifice to stay home to care for him meanwhile? I wished I had a choice, and with our second baby on her way, I would also need to consider if this school is suitable to care for her as we may enrol her earlier, and from the way things look now, I am not confident of starting her too early.

With about 14 weeks to go before I pop, I am pretty concerned about how we would arrange child care for both our kids.
The boy who finally puts on his uniform after 7 months of school
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Baby see, baby do

Do you worry about what your kids subconsciously learn from your own words and actions? As parents we need to constantly edit our conduct to ensure they only learn the 'right' things. How challenging that can be.

I am taken by surprise each time I hear something familiar from Aiden or when his actions remind me of Daddy Darren or even myself! How fast kids imitate and pick up what they hear or see daily, so it is important that we conduct ourselves in the way we hope our kids would emulate, right from their early baby days.

Since he was little, I have to keep reminding myself not to always give 'No' as an answer and try to explain why I object against his actions. I do not want him to grow up always giving 'No' as an answer without substantiating it. As I guessed, when he starts to communicate, we get 'No' pretty often when we ask him for his opinion and I wished I hadn't overuse it.

There are other instances, like how he would have a routine of cleaning the bay window area with wet tissue twice before wiping it with a dry tissue and always carefully lifting the items on the surface as he cleans - this is exactly what Daddy Darren does! And how when he sees something amusing, he would say 'Funny!' and then roar with laughter, that's what I do subconsciously.

This made me sit up and think, wow - the things they pick up from us. I need to 'edit' what I say or do in front of him as this is the stage (he is 30 months old) where they absorb like a sponge and I wouldn't want to taint it.

He recently picked up 'Scissors, paper, stone!' and here's him in action.

Make a guess on who he's mimicking by fist punching and walking away after losing a game. 
Thursday, August 22, 2013

National Day Rally 2013: All for Singaporeans

Hsien Loong all for you! :D
This year's National Day Rally speech by PM Lee was all about Singaporeans.  There was nothing on why we needed foreign talent or how we should integrate with new immigrants.  Nothing on the cost of living or transport woes.  Nothing on the growing income gap or the low birthrate.  Instead, it was all about making the lives of Singaporeans better, in the immediate as well as the foreseeable future.  I think the loudest cheers of "District 19 huat ah!" were heard from the people living near the Paya Lebar Airbase on Sunday night.  The military airbase will be moved to Changi, freeing up valuable land and airspace for skyscrapers to be built.  Meanwhile, judging by the reaction from the audience, 'upgrading' has been replaced by 'shopping mall' as the favourite carrot for Singaporeans.  Project Runway was never going to be as popular as Project Jewel.

If the speech was made by a member of the opposition party, perhaps the slew of announcements would be branded as populist in nature, but I guess I should just comment on the things that would affect Singaporean parents (this is a parenting blog after all) and not politicise the issue. :D

In all, I would say that the PM Lee has done his homework and showed that he has finally managed to connect with the ground (since his infamous "mee siam mai hum" days).  His observations on the public sentiments on the Primary One admissions process and the PSLE were spot on.  The proposed changes in both these areas are also significant steps in the right direction.  Of course, the path is laden with rocks that could trip us up if we do not proceed with caution.  Here's how:

Admissions to Primary One

While it is great to have at least 40 places for children with no connections to each primary school, it might backfire if parents see the carving out of places for the "P1 Toto" as making the earlier phases more competitive.  For those who don't fancy their odds in a Phase 2C/"40 places" ballot, the Parent Volunteer route has become a bit more obligatory.  Worse still, for those who do fancy their odds in the ballot, we might see lucky parents from the west enrolling their unlucky children in the top schools in the east, for example.

One possible way to maintain a more open admissions system and for a less stressful experience is to pre-determine the maximum proportion of places for each phase (with any balance places pushed to the next phase) and to require parents to pre-select a desired school for each phase that they qualify for.  By introducing uncertainty and opacity to the process, I believe parents would find it a more pleasant experience.

Wider bands for grades - wider range of problems?

While the removal of PSLE T-scores is a welcomed change that is in line with the wider goal of nurturing the unique talents and character of each child, the introduction of wider bands might have unintended effects on parents and their children.

Unlike the 'O' Levels where students can be better differentiated (due to multiple subjects and multiple grades from A1 to F9) for admission to various Junior Colleges or Polytechnics, adopting PSLE banding (with 4 subjects and 7 grades from A* to Ungraded) would mean that large groups of students would be indistinguishable from one another.  Together with the changes to the Direct School Admissions process, it is my worry that the banding changes would spawn "Kiasuparents 2.0", where zealous parents would demand their children to take part in extra curricular activities excessively, on top of attending the neverending tuition classes, just so that their children can stand out both academically AND in character, resilience, drive, leadership, sports and art.  The 100m sprint that is the T-score has just turned into a decathlon that is the banding!

Lost opportunity?

Perhaps there wasn't enough time to talk about this during the National Day Rally, but I felt that an opportunity was lost by the PM to knock some sense into our tuition nation on Sunday and be the harbinger of change.  Singaporean parents today place too much emphasis on academic excellence and this mindset needs to change as soon as possible.  What do you think?
Thursday, August 15, 2013

PriviKids @ City Square Mall (17-18 Aug)

We are excited to be part of the exclusive Every Little Thing Market on 17 & 18 August 2013! Come feel the quality of our products and enjoy great discounts!

Every Little Thing is a well-curated ensemble of apparel and accessory vendors in Singapore. Every Little Thing reflects the look of the current consumer and presents a fresh approach to apparel-related markets in Singapore. From high to low, vintage to new, bold to understated, Every Little Thing is well-curated and carries the pulse of Singapore's fashion scene. A constant across Every Little Thing's participants is an advanced level of aesthetic, ideas, styling, fit, design and branding.

What’s more, Public Garden (the organisers) will be donating local products to a charity of their choice!

See you at City Square Mall!

PS: If you can't make it this weekend, our online store is open 24/7!  What's more, enter 'NDP13' during checkout to enjoy 20% off! (no minimum purchase, valid till 31 August 2013)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The burning issue of social mobility

The poor boy, the clueless grandma in red, helpful on-lookers and the traumatised young couple.
Our dinner on Saturday night started on an ordinary note, as we found a seat at the crowded Bedok Central Food Centre and started filling our tummies with ordinary fare - curry chicken noodles, carrot cake, ju kueh and sugar cane drink.  Unknowingly, things were going to change and it was not a pleasant experience.

Half way through the meal, we heard a short cry from a nearby table which got everyone's attention.  The cry belonged to a 4 year old boy and an old lady (presumably his grandma) was trying to take off his T-shirt.  Apparently, a young couple was holding a bowl of hot soup and the lady accidentally spilled it on the boy's back.  The boy sobbed as his mother and relatives spoke to the young couple who were trying to explain how the accident happened.  The grandmother was by now wiping the boy dry and checking how far down the spill went.  Frankly speaking, the boy's family did not look like the educated sort.  They were clueless and didn't look worried about the injuries of the boy.

An alert Mummy Cher exclaimed why they were not doing anything to soothe the boy's skin and so I decided to approach the commotion and told the mother that she should immediately apply cold running water or icy water on the boy.  There was another man who gave the same advice.  A hawker with a booming voice then told the mother that they should apply dark soy sauce and forget about the cold running water.  While I thought the remedy was unorthodox to say the least, the hawker did sound confident about it (and hawkers are more likely to suffer from burns afterall?) so I returned to my seat and carried on with our meal.  The boy was also not crying already and his skin did not look red.

Shockingly, another hawker then went over and offered medicated oil to the boy's grandma.  And worse, the mother did not object as the grandma rubbed the medicated oil all over the boy's back!  It didn't take long for medicated oil to take effect on the poor boy's sensitive, scalded skin and he started screaming in pain.  This time round, the boy's family finally listened to us and somebody brought an icy pack of water to apply on him.  Unfortunately, the boy's back was by now fiery red and blistering.

At this time, one of the family members (perhaps the aunt) was also speaking to the young couple with a few 'helpful' on-lookers.  They were telling them that they should either pay a sum of money or they will call the police.  I was shocked to hear that!  Firstly, they should be sending the poor boy to the hospital as soon as possible and not trying to bully the couple.  Secondly, the hawker who offered the medicated oil perhaps had an even bigger blame for the poor boy's misery!

The lady was visibly shaken with tears welling up and the boyfriend was trying hard to remain civil.

I just had to speak up for the young couple, so I told the relative that it was wrong to threaten them and the hawker should take the blame too.  A 'helpful' on-looker countered that the hawker was merely trying to help.  Huh?!?!  Got into a small argument with the witch hunters before I left my phone number with the young couple and told them that I would be their witness if it ever got to the police.

That dinner episode left a bitter after taste and it was truly painful.  From the pain that the poor boy felt, to the pain knowing that he would probably be disadvantaged in life due to his ignorant parents/family.  There is only so much strangers like us could do for the poor boy.

The feel good stories we hear, especially when NDP is around the corner, often mask the deep rooted problems of our society.  Just like in the Hunger Games movie, I can only hope that the odds of social mobility would be ever in the boy's favour.
Friday, August 9, 2013

The First Flutters

I still remember the first flutters I felt when expecting Aiden, and how excited I was to share that with Daddy Darren - which he dismisses as my tummy growling or too much fluid at times.  During my final trimester, his kicks and punches got stronger and I could feel vibrations & see movements from the surface of my tummy.

This time round, I didn't feel the flutters any earlier as I am 22 weeks now and just started to feel baby's first taps and some flutters. I still feel very excited as I feel baby's first connection with me and look forward to the nights where I lay quietly on my side, feeling her nudges.

When the movements grow stronger, I would like to share this with Aiden and slowly help him accept his baby sister. which I think he is slowly embracing. I am sure he would be a great big brother with guidance from us.
Friday, August 2, 2013

My Beauty Must Haves

Friends and colleagues around me have complimented my glowing, radiant skin. Besides the glow of pregnancy that I am enjoying now at 21 weeks (trust me, my skin was so bad during my first trimester I felt like an angsty, pimply teenager!), it has to be attributed to these make up products I am using currently. It takes me 5 - 10 minutes to get ready (without defined eye makeup and fake lashes) and really works wonders!

By Terry Touch Expert Advanced

This is an absolute must have in my makeup pouch. The magic pen erases eye makeup smudges below the eyes, mainly contributed by eyeliners  & mascaras that won't stay on. Just with a few clicks (works like a mechanical pencil), the pen dispense a light liquid texture which you can brush under your eyes and just blend with fingers. Refreshes my makeup and I look fresh again.

RMK Ingenious Powder Cheeks in P07 - Holographic Pink

Even without foundation on, I insist on some color on my cheeks. It gives an illusion of radiance and I look healthier and sun kissed with the rosy tint on the cheeks. I really love this medium pink shade from RMK that gives me a healthy rosy look, and the polarized pearls gives a soft glowing touch to the look. Helps me freshen up before a play date or friends gathering when I barely have time to get ready!
Guerlain Parure Aqua Fluid Foundation in shade 32

I switched from my all time favourite RMK Gel Emulsion Foundation to this fluid foundation from Guerlain. To my surprise, this moisturizing and light weight foundation works well with my current skin type. Thank goodness my complexion improved overnight when I was about 18 weeks pregnant, after weeks of gigantic pimples emerging and many red, painful smaller ones popping all over my forehead and chin area. I was feeling really miserable. With this hydrating moisturizer, I do one pump and spread the amount over my face. It glides on very well and adheres well to the skin, covering imperfections as well. I enjoy how it is absorbed very quickly into the skin for the next step of concealing. The finish is dewy and stays on all day.

Kate Eyebrow Pencil in BR-3

This super fine tip eyebrow pencil is my savior for beautifully shaped brows. It takes me under two minutes to draw my brows and I dust some powder over for a more natural finish. Very sleek and compact to bring along in your makeup pouch & for travels.

By Terry Crayon Khol Terrybly in 2 - Brown Stellar

For more defined eyes and a less sleepy look, use this easy to glide on eye pencil and tadah! Eyes appear larger ready for mascara or fake lashes if I have more time and in the right mood. Many friends have advised that I should doll up more during my pregnancy so that my baby girl will have nicer features, especially with eye makeup - more defined eyes, long lashes. I know I shouldn't find excuses but fatigue and laziness take over.

Will share more beauty products and tips as I discover them.
Can't wait to share these with my little one when she's here and grown up. 

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